After a dalit man in Gujarat killed himself while demanding land rights for his community, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha M. Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi needed to set his own house (Gujarat) in order first, before taking on the larger responsibility of ruling the nation.
Kharge told ANI, “Nowadays, dalits and minorities are forced to leave their villages, being harassed by the police and by the government.”
“To some extent, I can particularly say that the weaker sections who are not towing the line of BJP or the BJP government, they are either being killed or thrown out of their villages, or, such villages are being boycotted,” Kharge added.
“Modi ...comes from Gujarat and he was also there for nearly 13-and-a-half years as chief minister, and today he is also enjoying as a prime minister. He should at least set right his house, Gujarat, from where he comes. At least people should feel that they are safe...But, such things are not happening,” he said.
Kharge was responding to an incident where three dalit men had consumed poison earlier this week over a demand for land titles. One of them, Parbat Parmar, died in hospital, while the other two are said to be in stable condition.
In the months since four dalit youths were stripped and flogged by upper caste Hindu men in Una, Gujarat, for allegedly skinning a dead cow, protests by dalits for their rights, including land, have spread across the country.
As per reports, Parmar and other dalits had been forced out of their village more than two decades ago for trying to cultivate grazing land, a move that was opposed by the higher caste villagers. They have since been demanding alternative land.